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QC Airport executive director discusses aviation industry opportunities, challenges with Sen. Duckworth

March 20, 2023

Members of the Illinois Airports Council (IAC) met with Sen. Tammy Duckworth to discuss issues impacting the aviation industry, including FAA reauthorization and securing more federal funding for Illinois airports. IAC seeks to advance aviation in the state of Illinois and beyond, and Sen. Duckworth serves as chair of the aviation safety, operations and innovation subcommittee.

“Our council was established in 2020 to advocate for the interests of the aviation industry but we need champions like Sen. Duckworth to enact meaningful policies to advance those interests,” said Benjamin Leischner, A.A.E., chair of IAC and executive director at Quad Cities International Airport. “As a pilot, Sen. Duckworth has expertise that helps her better understand the challenges but also the vested interest to see aviation continue to thrive.”

IAC is committed to working with peers, industry experts and elected officials to identify innovative solutions to complex industry issues. Commercial travel is emerging from the largest recession in its history, but supply chain issues, pilot, crew and mechanic shortages, environmental concerns and more continue to challenge aviation as a whole. IAC believes collaboration with elected officials is key to addressing those challenges.

Sandra Shore, A.A.E., St. Louis Downtown Airport director and vice-chair for IAC, also attended the meeting with Sen. Duckworth to discuss the value general aviation brings to local communities.

“General aviation airports play a vital role in their local and state economies, as well as our national economy,” said Shore. “The system that funds these airports must be modernized to reflect these contributions. General aviation leaders are grateful to have Sen. Duckworth be part of our advocacy.”

“We cannot thank Sen. Duckworth enough for her continued engagement with Illinois airports,” said Leischner. “Confronting what’s happening within the industry today, as well as problem-solving for the future, starts with a dialogue and we are grateful for the opportunity to meet with the Senator and start that conversation.”

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